Have you heard about crop mobs? I was unaware of them until earlier this week, but I’m trying to learn more about them. A crop mob is a group of people who band together to descend upon small farms, usually sustainable farms that can be labor-intensive, to do a few hours work to help the farmers out.

One of the most talked about crop mobs is North Carolina’s The Crop Mob that was highlighted in a New York Times piece back in February. The group has put in more than 2,000 person-hours at 15 small, sustainable farms in the Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham areas.

What do crop mobs do? Basically, they’ll do anything the small farmers need them to do. At the first 2010 mob event, North Carolina’s crop mobbers did the following:

  • Build beds in a greenhouse
  • Built permanent hugelkultur beds
  • Cleared brush to expand a hog pasture
  • Put up an electric fence
  • Planted trees
  • Shared a meal
The Crop Mob has a website that has advice for its members and others around the country who want to start their own crop mobs. There a few key principles that should be followed.
  • No money is exchanged.
  • Work is done on small-scale, sustainable farms and gardens.
  • A meal is shared, often provided by the host.
  • This is not a charity. We crop mob for crop mobbers.
There is also an interactive Google map to help people discover existing crop mobs that are already in their area. There are none near me. I find that disappointing. While I don’t have the time right now to organize a crop mob, it would certainly be fun to join one a couple times a year.

Do you have any experience with a crop mob? It sounds like a fabulous movement that needs to keep expanding throughout the country. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

The crop mob mentality
Mobs of people are descending upon small, sustainable farms. Why?